In Your Twitter Profile, Leave Out the Punctuation

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I recently signed up for an account on Twitter and decided to proceed carefully when filling in my Twitter profile. Twitter is a place for people to listen to one another. That listening often starts with a Twitter profile. So I examined other profiles and was surprised to find a lot of people using commas in a string of words describing themselves.

Folks, we can't afford to be using commas. We're in a recession. Commas are extravagant and unneeded. Sure, I'd love to use commas in my Twitter profile, but I just can't afford to do so--certainly not on the salary I currently make. You don't need to be an economist to understand the price of a comma. Commas are expensive. They cost almost as much as a dash.

Keep in mind that your Twitter profile is a chance for you to paint a brief portrait of who you are and what you care about. It's not as difficult as it sounds to describe yourself in 160 characters. It's a whole lot easier without wasting characters on commas or other punctuation.

Here is my comma-free, lead-free and saturated-fat-free Twitter profile.

You don't need to feel constrained by the 160-character limit, though. Right within the Twitter profile you can link to an external web site that tells us as much or as little about your interests as you care to share. My own brief bio outside of Twitter can be found here.

This bio gives ample background info, including several rich media links. For example, if you have a high-def video documentary that you uploaded to the Internet Archive--which provides free, unlimited Web hosting for media files--you could link to it. Last time I checked, infinity is quite a bit larger than 160 characters.

So if you haven't yet dipped your toes into Twitter, now is the time. Come on in. The water is warm and the profiles are 160 characters.

Phil Shapiro
(The blogger is an educator and technology commentator in the Washington, DC, area. You can find him on Twitter at and reach him via email at To learn more about Twitter, check out the recently released book titled The Twitter Book, by Tim O'Reilly and Sarah Milstein. It's excellent in every way.)

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